by Sarah Beam
As with most things in life, the first couple days of the month-long Eat Local Challenge were easier than I thought they would be in some ways, and more difficult than expected in others. Most surprisingly, breakfast turned out to be the biggest issue. We were already accustomed to buying all of our produce locally, so our suppers are almost always centered around fresh, seasonal vegetables from the farmer's market, our CSA, or the Locally Grown almost-co-op. Lunch has generally been when the kids and I polish off the previous night's leftovers, and for snacks we have lately been living off local apples and pears. So it was with some shock that I woke up on Wednesday to realize that breakfast was going to be the meal which would require the most planning. Who would have thought?
It's just that I've been making my own granola for a month or so now, and since none of those ingredients are local, I've given it up for the duration of this challenge. It's possible I'm just being legalistic. Locally-made granola is being sold at the our Farmer's Market and through Locally Grown, both of which strictly limit themselves to products grown or produced within 100 miles. The granola maker is obviously getting his raw materials from elsewhere, as is the bread baker and the coffee roaster. So since I am purchasing locally-made bread and locally-roasted coffee, why then am I sticking to the letter of the law on the granola issue?
I don't know. I'm just learning as I go here. For now, at least, I'm deeming granola off limits, even though all of us have become rather dependent upon it.
Thus it was that we found ourselves hungry yet flummoxed on Wednesday morning. Of all days to have begun this challenge too, since that is the only one out of the week when the kids and I leave the house by 9am, so a leisurely-cooked breakfast was out of the question. Granola would have been perfect, alas.
I did have some eggs from a local farmer, along with an absolutely stunning loaf of wheat sourdough bread from a local baker, so within a few minutes, I had thrown together fried egg sandwiches for all of us. The kids couldn't have been happier and though we were a couple minutes late getting to our appointment, and the baby arrived with a wee bit of egg in her ear, it turns out that those few extra minutes spent at the table together brought a little more laughter to our morning.
Today, with nowhere to be and nothing pressing to accomplish, I came to the abrupt and rather disconcerting revelation that I'm a little lazy at the onset of the day. While homemade granola sounds noble and industrious of me, the truth is that I was baking large batches of it in the evenings once a week so that it could be grabbed easily on bleary mornings. With a nursing baby in the house, all mornings, as it turns out, are a bit bleary.
I was not to be deterred though, least of all on Day Two, so I quickly cooked a ginormous batch of local stone-ground grits, and stirred in a couple pinches of local feta cheese. Both children ate like truck drivers until there was hardly any left for me.
Now that I've discovered the joys of long, languid mornings at the breakfast table, I'm looking forward to homemade cinnamon rolls, French toast with homemade syrup, and grits souffles. I think we might be onto something here.
Sarah Beam cooks, eats and pretends to work just outside of Athens, GA. She chronicles her food neuroses at Recipes for a Postmodern Planet.